Hiding surround sound speaker wire
February 22, 2005 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Please help me hide my surround sound speaker wire in a finished basement!

I have a finished basement: dry wall, wall-to-wall carpeting. I have four surround sound speakers mounted on the ceiling. The speaker wire is hideuous. What are my options? I don't think I can run it through the ceiling as I have no acces (it's the lower floor) and tearing out the walls horrifies me. I can unmount them from the ceiling and have them on posts if it will work out. Any ideas and information re: your own such solution are appreciated!
posted by xmutex to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
You can get tracks from Home Depot, they are adhesive, you can get them in the color of your interior paint, and run them along the corners. Doesn't look bad at all, cheap to do, and easy.
posted by adampsyche at 9:56 AM on February 22, 2005


Here's an option:
DeCorp Flat Speaker Wire
posted by sexymofo at 9:59 AM on February 22, 2005


OmniMount has a nice selection of stands/brackets for speakers of all sizes. I was all set to use them before deciding to scrap my surround sound set-up. The prices on OM site are high - I found better prices by calling local stores that carry their products.

Even though the ceiling is the lower floor, there is a way to run the wires through that is not messy w/o ripping up your walls and ceiling. You would use a Jab Saw to cut a little hole in the wall and then use fish tape to run the wire from the entry point to the point on the ceiling where the speaker will be. This could be tricky if you have never done this sort of thing before. You and a friend who is handy could definitely do it. Another option would be to hire someone to do it.
posted by mlis at 10:33 AM on February 22, 2005


Even with fitted/glued carpet you should be able to lever it up enough to stuff wire underneath. If not, get hold of wire with no inherent stiffness you should be able to push it right up against the join between the floor and wall where it will become surprisingly invisible.
posted by cillit bang at 10:41 AM on February 22, 2005


MLIS: Any tips on how those steel fish tapes work? Just a brief rundown. That seems like a would-be perfect idea.
posted by xmutex at 10:46 AM on February 22, 2005


First, you want to bring the speakers down from the ceiling. You'll get audio better results with the speakers around ear height rather than up in the ceiling. Surround audio is generally mostly ambient sounds that will literally go right over your head if the speakers are mounted up high.

That done, it should be easy enough to run the wire under the carpet. most carpets are laid on plywood strips and the wire should fit comfortably against the inside edge of the strips. You might need a pair of pliers to get started, but just yank up on the edge of the carpet, tuck the speaker wire underneath and stamp the carpet edge back down with a rubber mallet (or, if you have floor mouldings, push the edge of the carpet under the trim with a screwdriver or putty knife).

If you've wall-mounted the speakers, then you can either go the fish tape route or plastic track routes mentioned above to hide the wire up the wall.
posted by dchase at 10:46 AM on February 22, 2005


xmutex: With the fish tape you unspool the length of tape you need, than feed it through the hole, than play around with it until it falls into place (across the ceiling and down the inside of the wall). The end of the tape has a loop which allows you to wrap the wire around it. Then you use the handle to reel back the tape and wire.

The "play around" with it stage can be frustrating at times but usually is no problem. There are less expensive fish tape models which will work fine. Here is one that was featured in PM (ugh watch out for link sponsored ads). There are even ones for 8$-15$ which would also be fine.

Here is a tutorial I just pulled off of a search engine - can not vouch for it as I have not read it but the pictures at least give you an idea of what the process is like.

Finally, just be careful with any electrical wires you encounter.
posted by mlis at 11:21 AM on February 22, 2005


xmutex -
A fishtape is pretty easy to use, once you get the hang of it.
It's just a flat steel wire with a slight bend in it from being coiled.
Basically what you are doing is pushing the fishtape through the hole in the ceiling, then along the ceiling to the other hole.
When the tape "hook" reaches the other end, you'd tape the speaker wire to the "hook" and rewind the tape, thus pulling the wire to where you need it.

A couple of pointers:
  • If you can, get a couple of spools of wire so you can run both speakers at once.
  • If it feels like the end of the tape is stuck, just give it a wiggle or twist the tape 180 degrees and back, it will often unstick. If the fishtape keeps going into the wall, but the end doesn't move forward, it's stuck. Rewind a bit and try again. This is where a second person comes in handy.
  • Try to keep the bend going the same way the whole time.
  • Make sure you are going with the flow of your joists. It seems obvious, but in a ceiling it's not always clear which way they go.
  • It's easier to fish shorter distances than longer, so if it's possible fish the ceiling run, then the wall run. If not, don't worry about it.
  • Two people make the job easier, you can have one person listen for the end of the tape in the wall. (It'll scrape).
  • When you tape your wire to the end, make the tape bundle as small as possible(while still being secure, nothing sucks more than having your wire come off halfway through the wall).
  • Also, make sure there are no tape edges to "snag". Rule #1 of fishing wire -" if it can snag, it will."
Fishing long runs is an art, so don't worry if you have to restart a few times. You'll quickly get the feel of it.
posted by madajb at 11:22 AM on February 22, 2005


Also, in some cases, you may wish to tie the speaker wire in a knot at the end of the fish tape. If your holes are big enough to support it, you needn't worry about tape coming loose.
posted by trharlan at 11:43 AM on February 22, 2005


My speakers are hung about a meter off the floor. I ran the speaker wires down the corners of the wall, covered them with masking tape, and painted the tape with the wall paint. People can't figure out how I did it--they ask me where the wires are.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:12 PM on February 22, 2005


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